From exploring the stunning features of the Bowl and Pitcher to hiking in the unique McClellan Rocks along the south shore of Long Lake, Riverside State Parks offers many handy, unique trail venues for escaping for the day to immerse oneself in nature and experience a bit of wilderness. Most of these hiking areas are within 10 miles of downtown Spokane, the furthest is a 20-mile drive, making all of them great day trip destinations. Riverside’s trails are open 365 days a year, and once you are out on them it is hard to believe you are often less than 10 miles from the heart of Washington’s 2nd largest city.
Many of these trails link the park’s various day use areas and campsites, which offer picnic tables, restrooms, and access to interpretative information and park staff. Trails are often multi usage, offering biking or hiking and contact with horse riders. Numerous access points often offer the possibility of other activities like picnicking, water sports, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing. The paved Centennial Trail winds it’s way through almost the entire park, providing handicap access to a wide variety of natural settings along its length. Maps are available online and at Park Headquarters. Trails are well marked and many of the more popular trails are captured on Google Street View.
One of my favorite types of day hikes is what I call a “loop hike”. Leaving and returning to the same point without retracing your path. The “granddaddy” of these at Riverside is Trail 25 – the 25-mile loop trail that follows the edge of the Park’s boundary. Trail 25 can be accessed from a number of locations, and also connects with a number of other park trails, making a smaller loop trips an option. With a bit of planning, Riverside’s trail system offers a wide variety of loop hikes that can vary in length, setting, and difficulty. Come see for yourself.
A Spokane resident since 1991, Ron Hall first discovered Riverside State Park by canoeing the Little Spokane with friends. A lifetime hiker and trekker, Ron – a Google Street View photographer and all around “Google Geek” – enjoys using the trails at Riverside and documenting them for the public with Google Street View and interactive web mapping tools.